The Dig, The Butter Wars & The Dangers of Progress
The Keeladi excavations may alter the world’s ideas about the earliest Indians. But progress hasn’t been smooth for one of the country’s most sensational archaeological projects.
Today, butter in India is synonymous with a blue-haired ‘utterly butterly’ girl dressed in red and white polka dots, holding the telling yellow slab of salty butter in her hand. Amul needs no further introduction. Millions of Indians are a testament to how easily a brand can become such an integral part of an entire country’s life.
— Admittedly, our default views of progress are utopic in nature. When science promises us ‘progress’, we are all thinking about the perfect world with sustainable energy and no one living in poverty. It’s linear and teleological; we’re going somewhere. But in that pursuit for utopia, we are giving up the very things that make us diverse and plural. We’re writing history as if there’s just one way to do it.
Another default assumption about progress is that it is cumulative. Such a view is purported mostly by the scientific community. We are learning more and more things about the world around us. So, one day, we’d eventually learn everything there is to know. Indeed, if we take a look at the history of science, we see a repository of scientific achievements: Newton’s theory of gravity, Copernicus’s model of the heliocentric universe, Einstein’s theory of relativity, etc. The list goes on. We’ve put a man on the Moon, who’s to say that we can’t get flying cars one day?